The Sixers can taste it now. Thanks to Brooklyn faltering against some quality opponents, Philadelphia enters play tonight with a magic number of just three to clinch the Eastern Conference’s top spot. Tonight, they will have what appears a willing opponent to held shave down that number some more.
Let’s take a closer look at the top Pelicans vs. Sixers game picks and make some predictions for this May 7, 2021 matchup.
The Sixers got the gang back together and promptly rattled off six straight wins after an injury-driven four-game losing streak. They have covered five of six on this winning streak, despite every spread closing at -7.5 or greater, while earning huge leads in each, holding on for five double digit wins. Four of those wins came by 20 or more points.
Philly will benefit by playing yet another injury-riddled opponent tonight. The Pelicans will most likely be without both Steven Adams and Brandon Ingram here as they try to improve upon their 12-19 road record and stay within touch of the final play-in spot in the West. Trailing that spot by 1.5 games with just six to play, New Orleans will look to sneak up on a Sixers team trying to manage the health of its stars in the front end of yet another back-to-back set.
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Pelicans vs. Sixers Pick (May 7, 2021)
As mentioned, the 76ers need any combination of three total wins and Brooklyn losses to lock up the No. 1 seed in the East. With the Nets idle after their loss in Dallas last night, Philly would extend its lead over Brooklyn to three games, plus the head-to-head tiebreaker, with a win tonight. Brooklyn heads to a tough game at altitude in Denver next and is more likely to be thinking about holding off Milwaukee for the No. 2 seed than trying to catch Philly.
Meanwhile, New Orleans’ hopes of sneaking into a play-in spot are bleak. They play five of their final six games on the road, where they struggle mightily, and each of their remaining games is against a team currently in one of the top 10 spots in their respective conferences. To make matters worse, the team they are chasing, the San Antonio Spurs, has a game in hand and also holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Pels. With multiple key starters out, it’s hard to imagine a huge level of engagement from this underachieving team in their homestretch.
With both New Orleans and Philadelphia having motivational and health factors in play tonight, we will hope to exploit a few prop bets available at popular local online sportsbooks. Let’s analyze a couple of our favorites for tonight’s game.
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Pelicans vs. Sixers Odds
Here’s the line for the Pelicans and Sixers at DraftKings Sportsbook:
|Sixers||-2 (-109)||-129||O 224.5 (-112)|
|Hawks||+2 (-113)||+108||U 224.5 (-109)|
And here are the current best available odds for the Sixers (may not display on Google AMP pages):
Bets We Like Independent of Outcome
Each Quarter Over 50.5 Points (FOXBET -105)
The Sixers’ recent winning form has seen them hold three of their last six opponents to 94 points or less. Thus, despite the fact that we like a lot of points in this game, we decided upon this prop instead of “Each Team Over 22.5 Points in Each Quarter.”
You will need a few more points here than the 46 minimum points per quarter you would get with that other prop bet offering, but this gives you an out if Philly shuts New Orleans down in a quarter or two like they have with several other teams of late.
Nineteen of the Sixers’ 25 home wins have had totals set above 220. In only two of those games did Philly see more than one quarter fail to reach 51 or more points. Many of the quarters that produced 50 or less points landed at 48, 49, or 50 total points, putting them within a single basket of reaching the 51 they need to cash this prop.
In fact, Philadelphia has had every quarter reach 51 or more total points in six of their last eight home games with totals set over 220. Only two of the 32 quarters in those games produced 50 points or less, with both of those quarters ending within a basket of the 51 necessary points for this prop to cash.
New Orleans has cashed this prop in six of their last nine road losses as underdogs, including each of their last two in this role. They have been a dominant over play on the season, seeing 40 of their 66 games sail past the posted total, despite having just seven games all season with totals set below 218 points. Based on tonight’s posted number, we are expecting an average of almost 57 points per quarter.
The Pelicans have the sixth-highest points per game in the NBA, while allowing the seventh-most points per game. The Pelicans (103.9 possessions per game) and Sixers (103.8 possessions per game) play the ninth and tenth-fastest paces in the league this season, respectively, with New Orleans spiking to 111.8 possessions per game over its last three outings. In a game that could potentially get out of hand, we think each quarter should be able to give us the 51 we need here to cash this prop.
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New Orleans Pelicans Total Points – Over 108.5 (PointsBet -125)
Surely, this number is predicated in part upon the Sixers sixth-ranked scoring defense which has held four of its last six opponents to less than 109 points. That fact, in conjunction with the Pelicans likely missing a combined 50.8 points per game between Brandon Ingram, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Josh Hart, and Steven Adams, has helped keep this New Orleans team total low.
However, we see this number as very manageable and ripe for the picking. First, the Sixers have trouble with multi-dimensional guards, like Lonzo Ball, who likes to push the pace and will likely create a bunch of easy scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates tonight. Next, with Philly blowing teams out lately as heavy favorites and playing again tomorrow, we could see them manage the minutes of their starters late in this game. In that instance, we would expect the reserves to keep the energy high. We also know that New Orleans will be happy to oblige with its frenetic pace.
In 14 games since New Orleans and Philadelphia last met on April 9, the Pelicans have scored 108 or more points in all but one game. In fact, that trend continued even before the last head-to-head meeting between these two, as New Orleans had reached at least 108 points in 11 of their previous 14 games.
Since December 31, after the Pels fourth game of the season, they have reached 109 or more points in 48 of 62 games (77.4%) and tallied precisely 108 points in four others.
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Pelicans vs. Sixers Prediction
We like some points tonight.
We obviously believe New Orleans will top its team total of 108.5, meaning, at worst, we would need 119 or more points from the 76ers. Philly has topped 120 points in four of its last six games, all as large favorites like they are tonight. The Sixers reached that 120-point barrier 19 times this season and scored within a basket of the goal (117-119 points) seven other times.
Amazingly, 15 of the 19 times they crested 120 points came here at home, as did three of the seven 117-119 point outputs.
Philly has been a fast-starting team for some time now and should have every shot at 120+ points tonight in a revenge game that would bring the Sixers’ magic number down to two. After all, New Orleans has allowed 120 or more points in 22 games this season, with another seven games seeing their opponent finish within a basket of that number.
Trends to Know
As noted, New Orleans has played 60.6% of their games over the total this season. Philly has leaned under on the whole, but has played three of its last four over, all in games with similar structures to this one. The Sixers have also played 18 of their 32 home games over, a stark contrast to their 13-21 over record on the road.
The Sixers have played 10 of their 15 games over as favorites of 7.5-9.5 this season. Expanding that a bit, the team has only played 16 of its 45 games as single-digit favorites under the posted total (35.6%).
New Orleans has sailed over in seven of its 11 games as underdogs of five or greater. The Pels have also gone over the number in 19 of 30 games after a win (35 of 52 dating back to last season) and in 23 of its 38 games against an opponent entering off a win.
Philly has played over in four of their last five games after a double-digit victory and in seven of their last ten after scoring 125 or more previously. They tend to play high-scoring games against bad road teams, too, as they have gone over the number in 21 of the last 30 at home against teams with sub .500 road records and 23 of 32 here against sub .400 road win percentage foes.
Our Pick: NO/Phi Over 227.5 Total Points (FanDuel Sportsbook -110)
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